Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Saatchi Gallery
The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture

The full title is Copper Sulphate Chartres and Copper Sulphate Notre Dame, being card constructions with copper sulphate chemical growth... Hiorns explores what happens when what he has created is handed over to reactive material. It’s a hands-off process: a chemical solution with self-determining properties is set free to transform a ‘found’ object. He calls what he does - drawing back from the artist’s total control of an art work -  ‘material disenchantment’.

Hiorn’s work was short listed for the Turner Prize in 2009 partly on the strenght of his Seizure 2008. A disused bed sit in an abandoned 60s social housing block was filled with over 75,000 litres of copper sulphate which encrusted every surface. A domestic space – usually warm, lively, protective – is infiltrated by something which is fantastical, poisonous and lifeless. Was it a comment on the ambition of modernist architecture to  free people through rational expansion and usefulness?

This is also the man who in Vauxhall 2003 sank a steel drain into the surface of the Sculpture Court at Tate Britain but instead of water running down, flames leapt up out of the grating.

Leo Benedicticus in the Guardian  quotes him (see below) as saying: 'I don't like explaining and being explicit. I don't make art with lots of announcements and whistles and bells.' Earlier he commented 'I try to keep myself out of my work.   Seizure is kind of autogenetic – growing by itself. I prefer to distance myself from ideas of posterity, of the longevity of a piece of art. None of that seems healthy'.

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